GunnyLawyer was at the Minnesota State Capitol on Thursday, March 2, 2017, testifying on behalf of veterans. Along with Senator Jerry Newton, a retired Army Command Sergeant Major, John Baker testified in front of the Senate Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy. Baker testified in support of SF 1130, which establishes a veteran hiring preference in the legislature and state courts.
Preference in employment in cities and counties has been around in Minnesota since the early 1900s. For many years it was an absolute preference. In the 1970s the current Veterans Preference Act (VPA) (Minnesota Statute 197.455 et. al.) was established. Under the VPA a qualified veteran is awarded points towards a 100 point testing system that is used for hiring. A qualified disabled veteran is awarded additional points. In addition, a veteran cannot be terminated from employment without a showing of incompetency or misconduct at a hearing.
In 2008, Baker wrote the legislation to make Veterans Preference applicable to State Agency jobs. The resulting law, Minnesota Statute 43A.11, was a compromise because State Agencies did not use a point system in hiring. This is the same language that now will give veterans a preference in hiring at the legislature and in state court jobs. It also gives them the same protections in termination as all city and county jobs.
Baker originally brought this issue up at a Military Action Group meeting back in November. Baker has been working for years on looking for ways to break down barriers for veterans returning home and getting jobs. With one branch of government giving the preference it was pretty obvious that the other two branches should do the same. The idea quickly gained traction at the MAG with Representative Poston in the House and Senator Newton in the Senate authoring legislation.
This bill has the support of the Military Action Group and the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs.
On Thursday the bill, as amended, was recommended to pass and re-referred to the Committee on State Government Finance and Policy and Elections.
John Baker regularly represents veterans at Veterans Preference hearings throughout the State of Minnesota. He also represents veterans who have been charged with a crime throughout the State. Contact him at 651-773-4111 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you or a veteran you know needs help.